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Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

April 23, 2007

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Predator Owner Craig Leipold has repeatedly said that he wants to stay here in Nashville but a decision that will be made in the next 60 days may tip his hand on just how serious he is about that.

The Predators have to decide whether or not to activate a clause in their agreement with the city which would give Metro the option to buy hockey tickets from the Predators if they fail to meet the 14,000 average paid attendance figure. The way I understand it is if the Preds fail to hit that mark they would can ask the city to make up the difference. Let’s say that the Preds averaged 13,600 for each game…which over a 41home games that would translate into 16,400 tickets that Metro would have to decide to buy or not. If Metro buys the tickets (what price would they pay I wonder? An average ticket price I assume) then the Preds stay and all is well with the world.

Where it gets interesting is if the Preds exercise their option fail to hit the 14k in attendance mark and then the city declines to buy the tickets. This would allow the Preds to then exercise and 18 million dollar early buyout and search for greener pastures. One such pasture would be Kansas City which recently offered the Pittsburgh Penguins free rent in their new arena if they were to relocate (Pittsburgh has recently inked a new arean deal so Sidney Crosby and company are staying put).

I have no clue what Leipold is thinking but I would venture to guess that he is going to be weighing all his options over the next 60 days.

My gut feeling says that the Preds will exercise the option. When they do, be prepared for a number of “the sky is falling” articles written by the Tennessean. The bad thing is that even though this clause may be activated it doesn’t mean the Preds will ever leave town…but the confusion it will create may be tough to overcome.

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One comment

  1. I sure hope Leipold does not exercise this option. I think it would be a bad move from a PR standpoint. One only needs to look at the comments for the article on the Tennessean website to get a sampling of the reaction of the non-hockey loving community.

    Speaking of the Tennessean, I am sure that they feel like they are not in business to support the Predators and they feel that they have an obligation to report the news. However, I think that until Leipold makes his decision, this is not news. Issues like this have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies (like economic recessions) and I feel that the Tennessean is doing the Predators an unnecessary disservice by repeatedly running negative stories about attendance. If the Predators leave town, that is one less professional sport that they will have to report on. Who knows, maybe that is exactly what they want.



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